NBN Not Meeting Construction Timeframes
Our consistent criticism of the NBN Co’s strategy is that it will cost far too much money and take far too much time to complete the broadband upgrade.
The Coalition is totally committed to ensuring that all Australians have access to very fast broadband. However because we will take a more businesslike approach to the project, we will deliver it sooner, at less cost to taxpayers and therefore more affordably to consumers than Labor will.
The latest NBN rollout figures have been released today, a public holiday, in the hope that little attention will be paid to the dismally slow progress of the construction.
The Government has also released answers to Senate questions revealing that Senator Conroy’s department has continued to ghost write suitably flattering articles about the NBN for various newspapers.
The NBN Co has sought to create the impression that it is ahead of its targets by inventing the nonsense metric of “premises where construction is commenced or completed”.
The only meaningful metrics are the number of premises actively connected and the number of premises which are passed by the fibre network and can be connected at the customer’s request.
The Government is keen to talk up the productivity benefits of the NBN, but fails to acknowledge that this snail’s pace construction project, by its delays, is continuing to deny all of those benefits to those millions of Australians who are waiting and waiting and waiting.
The Coalition’s more business like approach, in line with that taken by telcos around the world, will see the NBN completed much sooner, much cheaper and more affordably than Labor will be able to do under its current plan.
NBN Co Not Meeting Its 12 Month Construction Timetable
In the second half of 2011, the NBN has stated that it began construction on its fibre networks in brownfields areas containing more than 100,000 premises. Of these, only 17,240 were declared ready for service in the second half of 2012.
So the NBN has shown itself unable to meet its own stated 12 month construction timeframe except for a handful of sites.
Take-up on the NBN is slightly better than 10 per cent across its networks, below the 13.8% it needs to meet its corporate plan targets. Not surprisingly the NBN is now giving RSPs $108 for each customer they switch over to the NBN as long as it is done before June 30 – all in an effort to meet their already downgraded targets in advance of the election.
Bulk of Houses Passed in Second Half of 2012 Were Via Satellite
The NBN says it “added” more than 125,000 premises to houses “passed by its network” in the second half of 2012. However, more than 65% of that increase was in extending the satellite footprint – which doesn’t require the same exhaustive design and physical construction as fibre and wireless networks.
NBN Again Changes Definition of ‘Premises Passed’
At least 4,000 of the brownfields premises passed have been counted as ‘early release Fibre Serving Area Modules’ (FSAMs) – meaning that the NBN is no longer waiting until entire FSAMs are ready to switch on to the network before counting them as having been ‘passed’.
This is despite the NBN stating in its corporate plan that the ‘premises have been passed’ once “all design, construction, commissioning and quality assurance activities in an FSAM have been completed for the Local network and Distribution network”. (Corporate Plan, p.94)
This revision to the definitions (in order to make it easier for NBN to meet its targets) is in addition to having changed the way it counts houses passed in greenfields areas – it now counts ‘lots passed’ regardless of whether there are any premises constructed ready to take a service on the lot or not.